Colombian trade unionist abducted by the army - TUC protest

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SE Presidente Alvaro Uribé Velez
Palacio Naraño
Santafé de Bogotá
Republica de Colombia
our ref: euird/fog/sbs
date: 12 April 2005

contact: Simon Steyne
direct line: +44 (0) 20 7467 1279
email: [email protected]

Dear President Uribé

Abduction by the army of FENSUAGRO leader Luis Miguel Gomez

This morning at 4.30am, Luis Miguel Gomez, regional leader of FENSUAGRO in Sucre department, was taken away by military personnel, believed to be members of the BAFFIN Battalion of the Colombian Marines. They detained Mr Gomez after forcing their way into his home (where he was sleeping with his family) in the village of Ojitos in the Coloso area of Sucre department. The troops had no arrest warrant and members of the military unit involved are known to have murdered peasant organisers in Sucre department in the past.

A discernible pattern of repressive action by the army against Fensuagro is emerging - in clear violation of Colombia’s obligations arising from ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 which proclaim trade union freedoms. We are deeply concerned for Mr Gomez’s safety. Last year he was detained twice and subsequently released by the security forces. On one occasion a senior police officer made a death threat against him. This is a clear case of ongoing harassment and we believe that his life may now be in danger. I would ask you to intervene to ensure his immediate release and to order the Colombian security forces to end their harassment of him, of Fensuagro and of other trade union leaders. I should be most grateful if you would let me know as soon as possible what action you have taken to that end.

Yours sincerely,

Frances O’Grady
Deputy General Secretary

Cc: SE Ambassador Juan Somavia, Director General, ILO;
Bill Rammell MP, PUSS, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; SE Ambassador Lopez Caballero;
And by email to: Vice-President Francisco Santos; Minister of Defence Jorge Alberto Uribe; Human Rights Program Director Carlos Franco; Luz Perly Cordoba, General Secretary, Fensuagro W

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